Can you fool an AI lie detector? University at Manchester Science Festival

Find out how Manchester Metropolitan is getting involved in 2018

iBorderCtrl virtual border guard

iBorderCtrl virtual border guard

Try to fool an artificial intelligence lie detector, discover innovative fashion made using rare pictures of the Antarctic and find out why 7,000 socks will be hanging in Central Library, as Manchester Metropolitan University joins the Manchester Science Festival 2018.

The festival, which is in its 12th year, is organised by the Science and Industry Museum – with Manchester Met showcasing some of its most exciting projects and researchers in locations across the city.

Scientists from Manchester Metropolitan will reveal their cutting-edge research, answer any burning questions about how science and technology will shape our futures, and give you the opportunity to take part in live hands-on science experiments.

Virtual border guard

Members of the public are invited to attempt to get past iBorderCtrl – a virtual border guard that uses artificial intelligence to work out whether people are lying about who they are and why they are travelling.

iBorderCtrl is a European-funded project that could transform the future of international border security. It is due to be piloted at land borders across the continent later this year – in Hungary, Greece and Latvia.

Research and technology developed in the heart of Manchester could revolutionise the future of travel and international security - Dr Keeley Crockett

As part of an advanced trip registration system, travellers are interviewed by an avatar border guard which asks questions about things such as their reasons for travel and how they are travelling to their destination, creating a psychological profile and giving the user a score based on their truthfulness.

Behind the scenes, the Automatic Deception Detection system, developed at Manchester Met, can tell if a person is lying or telling the truth through almost imperceptible signs, such as facial micro-gestures.

iBorderCtrl is a ‘human in the loop’ system, so it will give a risk score based on the user’s truthfulness, but human border guards will make any final decisions.

The iBorderCtrl system learns new ways to recognise deception from each person who uses it, so everyone who has a go will be adding crucial – but anonymous – data to the project.

Dr Keeley Crockett, a member of the European consortium developing the iBorderCtrl software at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “iBorderCtrl technology uses artificial intelligence to detect micro-gestures and other tell-tale signs of lying – making our borders safer from anyone who intends harm, and speeding up security checks for the majority of travellers.

“It’s great to be part of such a huge and significant project, with partners across Europe, and it is exciting that research and technology developed in the heart of Manchester could revolutionise the future of travel and international security.

“We – the consortium team and myself – are looking forward to meeting the public at the Manchester Science Festival, teaching people about the benefits of this software, and having some fun with it too.”

iBorderCtrl will be showcased to the public on Saturday, October 20, at the Science and Industry Museum, (10am to 4pm).

Professor Andy Gibson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “I’m delighted that we are playing a significant role in the Manchester Science Festival – taking science out of the laboratory so we can share it with the local community, and show people how research here in Manchester is shaping the whole world.

“We believe there’s something for everyone this year, from high-tech sports innovations and art inspired by science, to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and healthcare.

“I hope that everyone who joins in will have fun, unforgettable experiences and that they’ll come away feeling inspired by the scientific research we do here every day.”

Other events

Other Manchester Met attractions during the festival will include ‘Ice Queens: Fashion and the Antarctic’, a pioneering display of high fashion and fabrics created using data and rare Antarctic photography.

A collaboration between the British Antarctic Survey and fashion designer Andrea Zapp, this unique exhibition runs at St Ann’s Church, from Thursday, October 18, to Saturday, October 20, and from Tuesday, October 23 to Saturday, October 27, 10am to 5pm.

Furthermore, 7,000 socks will be suspended at Manchester Central Library in an eye-grabbing installation to raise awareness of the fact that over 7,000 lower limbs are amputated in the UK due to diabetes.

This is an art and science cross-over, informed by the life-altering medical condition – and every day there will be a variety of drop-in sessions involving Manchester Met scientists who are researching diabetes, as well as students who have produced artworks and animations for the exhibition.

Designed by artist Christine Wilcox-Baker, ‘Seven Thousand Feet’ will be open to the public from Thursday, October 18, to Wednesday, November 14 (except Sundays), 9am to 8pm Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm Friday and Saturday.

All events: 

Science and art collide in this visual and sound exhibition that draws charge from both fields. Each featured artist has drawn on scientific research to create artwork tackling everything from DNA breakdown to mental health stigma and cancer treatment, sparking all sorts of ideas about how close art and science really are.

Audience: Adults and families 12+

Venue: OA Studios

Date: Thursday 18 October – Sunday 28 October

Time: 9am – 5pm

Cost and booking info: Free. Drop in any time


Ice Queens: Fashion and the Antarctic

The catwalk’s frozen over. High fashion meets the Antarctic tundra in this remarkable collaboration between the British Antarctic Survey and fashion designer Andrea Zapp. Exploring how data and rare Antarctic photography can be used as a basis for fabric design, this stunning display projects scientific data over an array of clothes and garments to create a fashion line like no other.

Audience: Adults and families 12+

Venue: St Ann’s Church

Date: Thursday 18 October – Saturday 20 October, Tuesday 23 October – Saturday 27 October

Time: 10am – 5pm

Cost and booking info: Free. Drop in any time


Seven Thousand Feet

Marvel at the sight of seven thousand socks hanging high, as artist Christine Wilcox-Baker socks it to diabetes with an epic installation.

Every year, over seven thousand lower limbs are amputated in the UK due to diabetes and this giant artwork brings that home. There’ll

be games to play, art to do and people in the know to meet, so you can discover more about how we can defeat this condition. Check the website for full details of our daily activities

Audience: All ages

Venue: Central Library

Date: Thursday 18 October – Wednesday 14 November (except Sundays)

Time: 9am – 8pm (Monday – Thursday), 9am – 5pm (Friday and Saturday)

Cost and booking info: Free. Drop in any time


Future on Trial: Artificial Intelligence
All rise for the rise of AI. We need you to act as judge, jury and opinionator as we put the future on trial. Artificial intelligence is already

changing the world, but as it gets smarter are we losing control? You get to pass verdict. Bringing together expert witnesses and scientific leaders, we’ll pit them against each other in a courtroom setting while you get the final say.

Audience: Adults and teenagers 14+

Venue: Greater Manchester Police Museum

Date: Thursday 18 October

Time: 6.30pm – 7.45pm (doors 6.15pm)

Cost and booking info:

£5 / £7.50 combo ticket with Future on

Trial: Superbugs. Booking required

Future on Trial: Superbugs

Dust off your wigs and crack out your gavels, it’s time to get judgey. Join us in a beautiful historical courtroom as we put science on trial, asking if it’s gone too far by creating antibiotic resistant superbugs. Bringing together superbug specialists, expert witnesses and you, the jury, we’ll be having a mock trial and inviting you to pass verdict.

Audience: Adults and teenagers 14+

Venue: Greater Manchester Police Museum

Date: Thursday 18 October

Time: 8pm – 9.15pm (doors 7.45pm)

Cost and booking info: £5 / £7.50 combo ticket with Future on Trial: Artificial Intelligence. Booking required


An Ace History of Tennis

We’ll be serving up a lovely slice of tennis history. Discover how technology transformed the sport, figure out the subtle differences between court tennis and lawn tennis and see how rackets are strung and balls are made. You can even try out your skills on court, a smashing way to spend a Saturday. But don’t forget your trainers.

Audience: All ages (tours suitable for adults

and teenagers 16+)

Venue: Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club

Date: Saturday 20 October

Time: 11am – 5pm, (tours run all day at 11.15am – 12pm, 12pm – 12.45pm, 1pm – 1.45pm, 2pm – 2.45pm, 3pm – 3.34pm and 4pm – 4.45pm)

Cost and booking info: Free. Drop in any time (booking required for tours)


Build Your Own Internet of Things

Modems may be a thing of the internet’s past, but ‘things’ are most definitely a thing of the internet’s future. The Internet of Things is all around us, connecting everyday objects like fridges, toasters and even toilets to the net. Come along and discover just how big the Internet of Things is about to get and what it means for our everyday lives. Then get stuck into building a network of your own.

Audience: Families 10 – 18

Venue: John Dalton Building,

Manchester Metropolitan University

Date: Saturday 20 October and Saturday 27 October

Time: 10.30am – 12pm

Cost and booking info: £4. Booking required


Pi: Me vs Machine

Artificial intelligence making you feel thick? Worried machines might steal your job? Fret not: computer scientists are here to help you beat the machines at their own game. Grapple with coding, graphics and software design and get stuck into activities like PixelArt, ‘I, Teacher’ and Bots of Fun.

Audience: Families 7+

Venue: Science and Industry Museum

Date: Saturday 20 October

Time: 10.30am – 4pm

Cost and booking info: Free. Drop in any time


SnowTek 2018

Let’s get radical at this not-so-chilled out ski slope snowfest. Chill Factore has teamed up with sports engineers to help ice enthusiasts fire up their game. Showcasing everything from the physics of flips to the latest advances in body armour, snow aficionados will get fascinating insights into what goes on behind the scenes of the world’s coolest sports. Some of the demos and showcases take place on the main slope, so you’ll need to be a competent skier to take part.

Audience: Adults and families 5+

Venue: Chill Factore

Date: Sunday 21 October

Time: 6pm – 10pm

Cost and booking info: Most of the event is free to enjoy, but you’ll need to buy a lift pass to ski on the slope. Reduced rate lift passes for skiers start from £10

Pi: Best Foot Forward

Garlic wards off vampires, but can it ward off diabetes? The greatest minds of our generation are thinking on their feet in the fight against this debilitating condition, and we’re inviting you to pick their brains. Zoom around our ‘driving with diabetes’ simulator, try out our FootSnap app to see how healthy your feet are and leave your own footprint for our mural.

Audience: Families 7+

Venue: Science and Industry Museum

Date: Monday 22 October

Time: 10.30am – 4pm

Cost and booking info: Free. Drop in any time

Going Out with a BANG!

Come along to the closing party of our special exhibition, Cluster. The creators of the artworks are having a shindig to share

a little bit about how they created their works. Grab a drink, enjoy the music and join the artists in painting a picture of how science influenced the art and the art the science, giving you an unprecedented insight into the creative journey.

Audience: Adults 18+

Venue: OA Studios

Date: Saturday 27 October

Time: 6pm – 9pm

Cost and booking info: Free. Drop in any time


High-Tech Tennis

Game, tech, match. Tennis is a lot more than knocking balls over a net these days, and this is your chance to try out the latest gadgetry. Test out smart rackets, try out a digital court, play around with slo-mo replays and handle some of the earliest versions of the modern day racket. Drop in any time in the afternoon or make an evening of it by joining our big debate. Don’t forget your trainers.

Audience: Adults and families 8+

Venue: The Northern

Date: Saturday 27 October

Time: 2pm – 5pm,

6pm – 7.30pm for The Big Debate

Cost and booking info: Free. Drop in any time (book on the day at the venue for The Big Debate)


Science Stories

What do you get when you mix imagination, experimentation and a whole heap of fun? Science Stories! Get ready to make, write, draw and more at this year’s family friendly extravaganza. Wrap your head around the mathematics of weaving and feed your curiosity for food technology. Sit back, relax and enjoy our poetry and storytelling sessions, then be inspired to put pen to paper and create your own.

Audience: Families 5 – 11

Venue: Wythenshawe Forum

Date: Saturday 27 October

Time: 11am – 3pm

Cost and booking info: Free. Drop in any time

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